Those who know me know I’ve nurtured an unhealthy rage-love for the once popular Twilight series in which a bland girl falls desperately in love with an abusive vampire with incredible hair. Now, I’m kind of over it. I’ve read two different blogs of people reading the series (the better of the two can be found over on Sparknotes), watched all five movies multiple times, and generally spent more time obsessing over it than many of its intended audience ever did. And now, we find ourselves at the end, my review of the final film in the Twilight “saga.” I’m almost done.
Tagline: The epic finale that will live forever
More Accurate Tagline: The epic finale that seems to last forever
Guilty Party: Last time, I blamed the marketing department at Summit for splitting the bloated mess that is the final book into two movies when it barely had plot enough for a single entry on a Cracked list of “5 Ways To Tell If Your Boyfriend is Ike Turner.” I wanted to give Stephenie Meyer a break. I thought I had been cruel and maybe even a bit unfair. I shouldn’t have let up. I should never have let up. Because this is the end of her “saga,” a story that has spanned nearly 2500 pages (seriously, I looked it up), and this is the best fucking ending she could come up with.
Synopsis: Previously, on Twilight: Boring Bella falls in love with walking hairdo and pedophile Edward Cullen. The Volturi live in Italy and are mean. Edward and Bella decide to get married. Edward and Bella get married and have an insta-baby which Jacob falls in love with.
Bella, freshly turned into a vampire, runs through the forest to hunt. She catches scent of some human blood from a nearby rock climber but successfully resists the urge to kill him (something even mature vampires have trouble doing and newborns can’t at all) because Bella is so perfect, you guys, she’s just the best. No, seriously, this is the reason we’re given.
Bella returns and meets her baby Renesmee, who is an abomination that should be destroyed. Oh, the movie thinks she’s adorable and perfect, but she exists at the bottom of the Uncanny Valley where demons are born. Jacob tells Bella he imprinted all over her child, and Bella flips the fuck out. For once, I’m on Bella’s side. Get away from that “child,” Uncle Handsy. No one wants to visit the Bad Touch Lodge.
Bella continues to prove that she’s the bestest ever at everything. She defeats Emmett at arm wrestling, she defeats Edward at self-control, and she defeats Rosalie at having a uterus. Everything’s coming up Milhouse for Bella until one snowy day when Renesmee (who is growing preternaturally fast, meaning Jacob will hit that when she’s like seven — gotta love another tacit endorsement of pedophilia) does a super-leap to grab a snowflake. This is witnessed by Irina (Maggie Grace, proving she exists to ruin everything), who was one of the guests at the wedding and is totally in love with Edward. She runs off to the Volturi to let them know that the Cullens have committed the ultimate sin by turning a child into a vampire. See, kids have no self-control, and newborn vampires who aren’t Bella have no self-control, so this is a recipe for disaster.
Alice gets a vision of the arrival in Forks of the Volturi, and Dr. Acula blows into a conch shell and bellows, “NEWSTEAM, ASSEMBLE!” Well, no, but it’s pretty close. The Cullens go all around the world recruiting all these characters we’ve never heard of to help fight the Volturi, including a pair of vampires Erik dubbed “Gambit” and “Wolverine.” The werewolves have made peace because they’re all so pumped about Jacob falling in love with that baby. Once again, seriously, this is the reason we’re given. The only wrinkle is that Alice and Jasper have vanished, leaving only a cryptic note.
Bella eventually determines that Alice’s note is in code, and leads her to some fake ID guy. He has papers for Jacob and Renesmee. And that’s it. That’s all that leads to. So glad we spent time on it.
The Volturi finally show up, there’s a lot of talking, a battle (kinda), and then the entire situation is resolved when Alice and Jasper return with a racist’s vague idea of what an Indian looks like. Turns out this guy, who has never been mentioned, let alone seen, is also a vampire/human hybrid like Renesmee. So such a creature is possible, and she’s not a baby vampire. She’s still an abomination, but Aro’s like “whatever, I don’t even care anymore,” and the Volturi leave.
There’s a postscript that exists to show only how Bella has developed a new superpower (in addition to her present one of defeating people at using their powers): she can induce flashbacks to the other four movies in people. This officially makes her the worst being in recorded history. The end.
Life-Changing Subtext: If something doesn’t directly effect you or your family, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Defining Quote: Bella: “You named my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?!” She’s reacting to the nickname Jacob gave little Renesmee: Nessie. Honestly, I’d be more concerned that your pal wants to fuck your kid, but what do I know?
Standout Performance: With the Avengers Assembled, the Cullens think they have their crew. Out of nowhere two other vampires show up. And these two are fucking amazing. Vladimir and Stefan (Noel Fisher and Guri Weinberg), also known as the Dracula Twins, are pair of Hammer characters who took a wrong turn at casting and wound up in a Twilight movie. They want revenge on the “Italian scum” for burning their castles and so on, and are utterly baffled whenever any character acts like they’re in a shitty teen soap opera. These two are Torgos through and through. If the series had been about them, I would be writing it up on my other regular feature.
What’s Wrong: The movie’s worst sin (and saving grace, strangely) will be the Transcendent Moment, and much of What’s Wrong is exactly the same stuff that sucks about the other Twilight films. Yet every one finds a way to be horrible in a unique way, like a snowflake made of a leper’s skin shavings. In this case, it’s alluded to in the Life-Changing Subtext. See, not all the vampires who show up to help the Cullens are “vegetarians,” and in fact Gambit is introduced murdering some guy for being British. Only Jacob seems to have the slightest problem with these monsters showing up and killing people (and even he limits his objections to a few passive-aggressive asides). The message being, as long as these people are here to protect my family, it doesn’t matter how many others have to die. These are our heroes, people.
Flash of Competence: The always adorable Valorie Curry shows up in the role of Charlotte, one of the X-Men who arrives to protect Nessie. She’s never actually given a line. I suspect so that Alice won’t be out-pixied.
Best Scenes: In one of my favorite subtly stupid details, the vampires make a big show of only hunting apex predators like bears and mountain lions. This is the worst thing you could do to an ecosystem (unless you’re Freedom Industries, and then you can aim higher), but none of that matters because predators are mean! Bella saves a deer by leaping on a mountain lion like the Disney secret service or something. Hey, maybe that was the Deer President. I don’t know.
After Bella gets turned, the Acula clan decides they have to move away because once word gets out that Bella’s dead, she can’t be seen moping around town anymore. Jacob, freaking out that he’ll lose valuable grooming time with Nessie, heads over to Charlie’s to tell him about monsters. And here we get the best moment in the movie. While Jacob explains that Bella’s changing, he starts stripping naked to prepare to transform into a giant wolf. Charlie has no idea, and thinks thinks the kid’s coming onto him, and there’s this incredible moment you can see on Billy Burke’s face where he realizes he’s going to have to let Jacob down easy.
Transcendent Moment: Alice shows up at the final face-off (there’s been no battle yet, just a lot of talking) and wanders up to hold Aro’s hand. This is important because Aro essentially has a hilariously lame version of Edward’s powers, meaning he can read your mind as long as he’s holding your hand. Alice, as you recall, can see the future.
Anyway, shit turns when Alice is like, “they were never going to listen!” And all hell breaks loose. The fight is actually pretty cool, and tons of folks we know, including Dr. Acula, Jasper, Leah, Seth, Jane, and all three heads of the Volturi, are brutally killed. It has some reasonably kick-ass fight choreography featuring a lot of heads being ripped off through the deadly art of Gymkata.
…and then, it’s revealed that this was All A Dream. Alice was merely showing the vision of the future to Aro should he persist in his present course. Then, everyone walks away, and peace is restored (the Dracula Twins have a brief rant at how stupid the Cullens are for not killing the Volturi, and they’re totally right). Now, what makes this the Transcendent Moment rather than the dingleberry at the top of the shit sundae that is this series is that it is entirely an invention of the movie. In the book, it’s just the conversation (some 70 pages, if my sources are to be believed). The movie had to add an action sequence of some kind because Meyer herself was too terrified of conflict to write one.
I’ve spilled a lot of words reviewing these terrible movies, and now I’m done. Long was the road, and hard, that leads from darkness into light. I’m finished. I can move on. Well, until I decide to review The Host.